IRC wins a 500,000 Square Foot Louisville, Kentucky Project
Some contractors are differentiating themselves by offering incredibly fast estimate responses followed by even faster job completion times. Insulated Roofing Contractors (IRC), based in Louisville, Kentucky is just one example of how this business model can be very effective in both gaining and keeping customers. A few years ago IRC obtained a 500,000 square foot SPF roofing project for a distribution warehouse belonging to a paper goods business based on their reputation for speedy customer service and job completion times.
Image: A typical paper distribution warehouse.
First on The Scene
According to Wayne Hampton of IRC, the outlook on growth in the SPF industry is positive to the extent that existing contractors will need to really speed up job completion times in order to meet that demand. Wayne Hampton spends most of his time helping IRC give estimates and gain new projects. According to Wayne Hampton, giving estimates quickly builds trust and helps IRC often get jobs right away.
IRC maintains a responsive sales staff and usually replies to customer inquiries within just a few hours of contact. Many competitors wait 1-2 weeks to give an estimate, and frequently they are shocked to see IRC is already on the job (or done). IRC provides their salespeople with all the right tools including wireless ethernet cards and notebook computers so that customers who need a fast response can receive an estimate before the salesperson leaves.
500,000 sq ft Warehouse Requires Re-Roofing
The 500,000 square foot paper goods warehouse project is part of a larger 1.5 million square foot complex. The areas to be re-roofed were mostly BUR systems, although four were EPDM and one was a poorly installed SPF foam roof. The project also had twelve skylights which would be removed and covered.
A Difficult Schedule
The customer only gave a small window of time each night from 1am to 5am. During this time window 15-20 workers removed skylights and completed any required prep-work so that the daytime 5 man crew could hit the ground running. During the night-shift prep-work, dust containment bins were fastened to the ceiling deck (inside the building) to catch any debris that might otherwise fall and cause damage inside the warehouse. 16 Gauge metal panels and 5×8 gypsum board were used to fill the holes and provide a substrate to which the SPF foam could adhere to.
Water Soaked Roofing
Some attempted patchwork was done with EPDM rubber roofing over a leaky BUR substrate. Both substrates were completely soaked which caused both the rubber and BUR substrates to degrate at an accelerated rate. During warm sunny days, the dark roof surface could reach temperatures of 190 degrees or more, causing the water inside the roof to steam and severely weaken any seams. An infrared moisture detector was used to identify and tear off compromised roof areas. The infrared detector was used at dusk as the weather began to cool off. The soaked areas retained heat better than the dry areas, creating a contrast which could then be identified (high moisture areas were usually at 15 to 25 percent).
Final Preparation Work
Similar work was done on the failed foam roof as well (soaked areas were torn off). Sections of roof were completely torn off then cut apart as needed for disposal with a Roof Warrior-brand saw-like a table saw (to allow the pieces to fit down a chute). In these tear-off sections, the roof deck had to be completely replaced. Before the SPF foam roof could be sprayed, three thick masonry dividers were installed on perimeter walls to inhibit fires from spreading between the 12 buildings in the area (sometimes called “maximum fire loss walls”). This precaution prevents fires from climbing up walls and entering adjacent area through the roof above.
3-Pound Polyurethane Foam Roofing
Once all preparations were finally complete, IRC started spraying 3-pound GE Bay Systems North America foam. Two Gusmer 20/35 foam rigs were towed into the warehouse and a staging area was used along with an open skylight to allow equipment access to the roof. IRC occasionally uses a self-contained Roamer-brand robotic sprayer for large scale projects. The Robotic sprayer only requires a two man team to operate. Unfortunately, it could only be used in small 2,000 to 3,000 fot sections most of the time due to obstructions on the warehouse roof.
IRC crews used 90 pattern control disks and Graco 20/35s GX7 guns with number one modules to smooth out low areas and assure a depth of 1.5” to 2” was reached. This type of work is a bit more artistic nature and is best done by a skilled human applicator instead of a robot.
22,000 Gallons Each of Foam and Coating Applied
The massive 500,000 square foot project consumed four hundred 55 gallon drums of foam (200 sets of A+B). GE SCM 3400 series silicone topcoat was used to a depth of 32 mil, which also consumed four hundred 55 gallon drums. Silver Graco Xtreme Viscount II 4500 and 5000 sprayers with 843 tips were used to apply the coating.
IRC Knows Time is Money
Insulated Roofing Contractors’ good business practices including fast estimate turnaround time and high level of flexibility have allowed them to continue to win many new client contracts. The paper distribution warehouse project is just one example of their sensitivity to their clients needs and their willingness to completely work around their clients schedule. The old adage “time is money” applies here; the time that IRC saves their customers has resulted in more money for their operation. While most contractors see a client with a difficult schedule as a problem, IRC instead sees opportunities. And so far, these opportunities are paying great dividends for the contractor.